Daily Life

Back to School (Virtually)

Wow I can’t believe my last post was MONTHS ago. I’ve been SO BUSY with my kiddos ever since COVID shut the schools down. So here we are, it’s almost mid-September and my kids have completed their first week of school. Our district decided to start virtually so we’ve been schooling from home.

My oldest started middle school and I’m pleasantly surprised to say that it went well! I was expecting push-back with the transition back to school. Kiddo has four classes a day with breaks in between. It seems to be just the right amount. He says he likes his teachers and I haven’t heard too many complaints.

Then there’s my youngest. In the spring his elementary school had a thirty minute session each day, four days a week. Then twice a week my son had individual sessions with the teacher. Three hours a week in total.

For the Fall, we meet four times a week Tuesday through Friday. And around six hours a day which breaks down into eight thirty-minute sessions. There are breaks in between and a lunch hour. Total of 24 hours a week.

It’s been a struggle, I won’t sugarcoat it. I’ve been taking notes of my observations. I’ve been talking to the teachers about what’s working and what isn’t. I know we’re all navigating through this for the first time so there aren’t any “best practices” in place.

One thing I do know – the day is too long. Kids, especially autistic, have a hard time sitting and engage for 6 hours. Even with breaks in between. There are many barriers to learning. They already struggle to read social cues, let alone do it through a computer. Even typical kids struggle with online learning. Heck, I do too. I know when I’m taking a course I need breaks in between. I can’t absorb all the information at once.

Distance learning
Little guy trying to pay attention. And yes M&M reinforcers behind the computer!

As we go into Week Two, we are going to try giving my son some independent work. They call it asynchronous learning. We need to combine the virtual with activities that are hands-on and tactile. I noticed in art class he was a happy camper. His art teacher had us break out the paper and crayons. And then my little guy drew whatever the teacher asked him. We need more of this type of learning.

I’m thankful my elementary school is willing to work with me and help me figure out how to make this work. Hopefully yours will too.

The next piece will be figuring out how to get my work done? On a normal basis the kids would go back to school and I would hit the ground running. I can’t exactly do that anymore. I have to be beside my youngest, he can’t learn independently. I’ve essentially become a student again, learning along with my kiddo.

But the work is there waiting for me. I am fortunate to have a really flexible schedule. I don’t have to work set hours. I can work from home. I can work around the kids schedule. So hopefully I’ll be able to find gaps of time and slowly get caught up.